A BULGING MAILBAG has prompted Moray’s MP to call on the UK Government to set up an independent commission to look at how changes in state pensions are affecting men and women.
Angus Robertson said he has now received numerous letters, in particular from women who have serious concerns over the impact pension age changes will have, with those most affected having been given minimal time to make alternative arrangements.
“This issue here is not whether men and women should have the same pension age – that is something I agree with,” the Moray MP said, adding: “However, Government’s should not be making major changes to pension age and arrangements with putting in place fair and reasonable transitional arrangements.
“People plan their pensions decades in advance and major changes need to reflect that very long-term financial planning that is inherent in preparing for retirement.
“A petition by the WASPI Campaign, which has been supported by many women in Moray, calls on the UK Government to make fair transitional state pension arrangements for women born in the 1950s and has attracted more than 100,000 signatures.”
A debate on the issue was held last week in the House of Commons led by the SNP, but while that produced nodding approvals from other MP’s it has so far met with no real action from the UK Government.
Mr Robertson added: “Asking older women to return to work to make ends meet, after their retirement plans have been shattered by state pension age rises, simply isn’t fair and in many cases is not possible through ill-health or care commitments.
“The SNP fully support equalisation but now, more than ever, it is absolutely vital that the same mistakes are not repeated which is why the UK Government should establish an independent pensions commission to fully investigate the effects of the pension reforms.
“There has been a complete failure to address a lifetime of low pay and inequality faced by many women born in the 1950s and now women are at risk of further hardship under the new pension system.
“Pensions are not benefits – they are contracts which women born in the 1950s entered into aged 17 but fundamentally the 2011 Pensions Act represents a broken contract.
“There needs to be better transitional arrangements for these women and I urge the Tory government to act now.”